Gillespie wins Empire Asparagus Poetry contest

Athena Gillespie, age 20, won the Audience Choice award at this year’s Empire Asparagus Festival poetry contest, held on Saturday, June 4, for her poem “Green Force.” Gillespie also submitted a poem to the contest in 2012, when she was 10 years old. Both poems are published here.

Green Force

By Athena Gillespie

There is power in a certain green vegetable Power that its kin do not possess.
The onion merely cries
While the leeks are just bystanders.

But not asparagus.
This plant wields a spear, Rough and weathered, Layered and intricate. Evident and intentional. This plant holds a weapon.

As we eat and talk and walk about this green force,
It waits for battle.
I read somewhere that
Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus would call to his troops, “Velocius quam asparagi coquantur!

Loosely translated from the ages meaning “Faster than cooking asparagus!”

So you see,
This delicacy is much more than a luxurious edible experience, Or the soup your father makes in the summer,
Or the perfect crunch worthy of a steak garnish.
This plant was made for war.
Asparagus, oh asparagus,
Lead us onto the battlefield.
Teach us to move with fury.
Instill in our hearts a sense of determination.

I’ve never liked war.
But if asparagus was my officer,
I would wield a spear just as it does, hearing the echoes of Augustus in my mind. Velocius quam asparagi coquantur!

For one may be able to crawl to glory without you, But oh, how unsatisfying of a fight.


Green and great 

Submitted by Gillespie in 2012

I bite in to this tasty treat

“What a delight” I cry out with joy

Asparagus, my asparagus